Toronto, Canada is known for its vast ravine system and network of park space. This home is also one of a handful of houses in Toronto that borders on the beautiful Beltline Trail. The linear park passes right through the backyard affording lush green views in the summer months and beautiful snowy trails during winter. An important project goal was to open up the entire back of the house to bring in the outdoors in essentially connecting the house to the landscape.
Upon entering the house there is a direct and unobstructed view through the new floor-to-ceiling windows into the back yard and beltline, blurring the lines between inside and out. It provides light for the entire hallway and draws the visitor toward the kitchen.
Originally, the back of the house was a series of closed rooms with small windows. Izen Architecture opened up the entire back wall to create a large, open-concept space where the kitchen and living space become one functional area that extends into the backyard landscape.
The interior palette is clean and bright so as not to compete with the views, accented by the white oak windows that bridge the connection between interior and exterior. All of the details are minimal – integrated electrical outlets, linear diffusers and flush baseboards. The homeowner is a home chef and spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and facing this view. For this reason, there was a major focus on the quality and durability of the materials and appliances. The matte white laminate is fingerprint-proof, scratch resistant and anti-bacterial. The 12’ island has storage on both sides as well as a seating area. In-floor heating adds warmth and comfort to the space. In an unexpected moment, one of the clean cabinet doors opens to reveal a walk-in pantry lined with leopard-print wallpaper and jars of colourful ingredients.
The wall of windows, bridging inside and out, become one of the most important details of the space. They are flush with the floor and flush with the ceiling. They slip behind white oak structural columns to grasp an extra few inches of light and view, and wrap around a corner to create the illusion of being endless. The center window is 14’ long of unobstructed plate glass and needed to be craned over the existing house. In the winter, these windows are the focus of the space, surrounded by white on both sides. In the summer, the white oak frames disappear into the deck and trees beyond, allowing the visitor to be totally immersed in nature.
Izen Architecture is an award-winning architecture and design studio established in 2015 and based in Toronto. The firm is currently working across a broad range of projects with a focus on new houses, additions and alterations. They are passionate about design and firmly believe that well-designed spaces enrich people’s lives. Izen projects are distinctive for their finely honed detailing and they continuously obsess over the quality and materiality of each detail and its relationship to the whole. The firm collaborates with clients who are willing to push for bold, innovative and architecturally meaningful solutions. Their body of built work is comprised of spaces that are balanced, bright, open, comfortable and inviting. Izen Architecture believe in an intimate relationship between a house and its surroundings, and the ability to extend ones living space to the outdoors. The quality of ones architecture shapes the quality of your life.
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